Sampath Pal Devi grew up in Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh and, like many of the women in her community, married young - at 12. She witnessed violence against women as an everyday part of life. It was unsafe for women to go to the outdoor bathrooms at night for fear of assault. Domestic violence and beatings were common. At the age of 20, Ms. Sampath Pal fought back, organizing a few women armed with brooms to thrash a notorious wife-beater.
Now in her 40s, she runs the Gulabi Gang. "This country is ruled by men," she said in her asthma-roughened voice. "No use asking them for help. We women must fight our own battles ourselves."
Gulabi means "pink" and refers to the color of the saris Ms. Sampath Pal and her band of women wear. The movement has grown from that tiny core of four concerned women to a movement that covers much of rural Uttar Pradesh, one of the most conservative states in India. The brooms have evolved into canes. The Gulabi Gang has thrashed recalcitrant officials and police officers who wouldn’t register cases of domestic violence. It also runs vocational centers that offer practical ways of employment and empowerment for women.
In the US and other countries we have Holla Back - the main focus is to use cell phone cameras to get good pix of the harassers and post them online.
Thanks to technology women are fighting back - although as the Gulabi Gang demonstrates, sometimes brooms are good too.
And unfortunately assholes can use technology to find novel ways to harass. I mentioned some of the harassment I dealt with when I blogged about a film director whose casting call was on Nudity Required, No Pay. What I haven't mentioned on this blog is that the search string harassment went on for a month after I blogged about it in March.
Here are some of the things that the harasser - and I know who it is via web statistics - said to me via search strings:
[my name] heavens mergatroyd needs it hard in the ass
[my name] heavens mergatroyd slurps it down
[my name] heavens mergatroyd can't keep cock out of her ass
And quite a few others, but you get the idea. But also, since harassers are never responsible for harassment, he also sent me this search-string message:
heavens to mergatroyd [my name] brings this on hersel
And the best part is that this asshole hangs around with women who apparently believe themselves to be feminists. Yet they seem to have accepted that their role in life is to do all the shit-work for men who make films and theatre productions. What harassing exploitative douchebag wouldn't love "feminists" like that?